July 20, 2004
Inquiring Minds

Alex Knapp, the first commenter on this post by Stephen Green at VodkaPundit, asks an important question that has also been bothering me. If Sandy Berger smuggled classified documents "in his pants", does that mean in his pants pockets, where any man will put almost anything that fits, or stuffed in his underwear, like Fawn Hall smuggling documents for Oliver North?* The latter would be far more incriminating -- not to mention unsanitary, unless Berger's pants had specially sewn-in extra pockets on the inside, which would be even more incriminating and seems extremely unlikely.

Pockets may seem far more likely at first thought. However, it's hard to fit 8 1/2" x 11" documents in ordinary pants pockets without folding them in quarters, and even then only if they are very few pages. I also wonder whether members of the commission were required to empty their pockets for inspection on leaving the room. If so, Berger would have had to put them somewhere less obvious. Members were obviously not strip-searched, if it took a warrant and a search of Berger's house to find the purloined documents. Does anyone know whether commission members would have been searched, and if so how?

Of course, the larger question that has still not been answered is whether Berger was taking things to prevent others on the commission from reading them, or to allow others not on the commission to read them.

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*Not exactly like: as I recall, the gorgeous Fawn Hall smuggled documents in the tops of her boots and the back of her blouse, but many male observers liked to think that they (the documents, I mean) were in her underwear.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at July 20, 2004 12:32 PM

Maybe he rolled the documents around his calf and stuffed them into the top of his socks.

Posted by: markm on July 20, 2004 07:16 PM

Since you seem to be asking the question seriously, I'll give you the general story without the spin.

First, your questions about whether commission members were searched indicates you're a bit confused on who was doing what where. Berger was in the National Archives reviewing documents to see which ones needed to be sent to the commission. There were no commission members there.

Second, Berger's story is that he wrote down notes while reviewing the documents. It is those notes that he put in his jacket and/or pants pockets. The documents that he removed (copies of the after-action report on the millennium anti-terror operations) "inadvertently" wound up in his portfolio among his personal and business papers.

That much is plainly admitted by Berger and his lawyers. There is one accusation supposedly from an archive staffer that Berger put something in his socks. Berger and his defenders deny that.

Posted by: Lynxx Pherrett on July 21, 2004 11:50 AM